Org Charts for LO

Keith Cowan (
Sat, 12 Nov 1994 06:31:02 -0500 (EST)

Although there are many conflicting views of the role of the org chart,
IMHO it only represents what the executive wishes the organization
were like. In fact, many consultants offer the service of documenting
what really goes on in spite of the charts.

The term "managing the whitespace" refers to the fact that amy org chart
is merely a simplified surrogate and cannot represent what really goes
on (the whitespace is all those functions that happen in spite of the
fact they do not show up on anybody's chart).

A frequent example of whitespace is the handling of a customer complaint.
They can enter anywhere and will proceed randomly through the org until
they come to rest (not necessarily resolved!). A learning-org might be
characterized as one that decides to develop a process for complaints
when the consultant brings it to their attention that this is in fact
randomly handled today.

To be a true LO, they should probably be capable of dealing with the
issue without continued reliance on the consultant, although I admit
that, as a consultant, I do not encourage them to do it themselves.
Symptoms of a LO might include the ongoing ability to recognize and
correct whitespace issues that emerge as the inevitable result of
economic entropy and the natural emergence of chaos in any system.

Keith Cowan       Phone: (416)565-6253           FAX: (905)764-9604
Toronto        Internet:  Compuserve: 72212,51